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Watson halfway to Masters repeat with second round surge

The Masters tournament reached its halfway point on April 11, as the leaderboard looked fairly lopsided. Of course, the Masters is far from decided, as there are still 36 holes left for the leaderboard to undergo dramatic shifts. However, the current frontrunner knows how to close the deal at this tournament, as Bubba Watson looked better than he had since his 2012 win at Augusta in a five-hole second round stretch.

Five straight birdies put Watson ahead for another Masters win
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Watson birded the 12'th, 13'th, 14'th, 15'th and 16'th holes to blow open the leaderboard in round two. A bogey at 18 barely made a dent, as Watson finished with a -4 68 for the day and an overall score of -7, putting him three shots ahead of the nearest competitor.

John Senden emerged into the final group for the third round with a 68, to get to -4 and sole possession of second place. First round leader Bill Hass slipped from contention with a 78, while Adam Scott took some hits but stayed in a four-way tie for third at -3. Veterans Fred Couples and Jim Furyk helped round out the top 10, tied for seventh with FedEx Cup points leader Jimmy Walker at -2.

Only 14 players are under par at the Masters, which doesn't bode well for the field if Watson doesn't slip up. Not only does he not have to worry about the absent Tiger Woods, he is also clear of Phil Mickelson, who missed the cut by finishing at +7.

This is the first time in 20 years that neither Woods nor Mickelson will be in the final weekend at Augusta. The Masters leaderboard will likely need Watson and Scott -- the last two champions -- for star power as a result. But a lesser known name like Senden, Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt, Jordan Spieth or Walker is just as likely to make a surge in the third round 'moving day.'

Watson came on suddenly to seize control in the second round, just like he surged to win the 2012 Masters. However, he went nearly two years before winning again, so he can suddenly fall off the map this weekend as well.

The leaderboard is likely to undergo another shift or two in the third round, although Watson would prefer to keep the status quo. He will tee off with Senden at 2:45 p.m. est, with live coverage starting on CBS 15 minutes later.

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